Ottawa Arson Unit investigates house fire that engulfs Alta Vista home
The Ottawa Police Arson unit is investigating an overnight fire in the Alta Vista area that completely destroyed a home.
The house at 2055 Baffin Avenue was being used as an Airbnb; fortunately no one was in it at the time. The Arson unit says it is too early to determine whether the fire was suspicious or accidental.
Flames quickly engulfed the house in this mature, stately area of Alta Vista, leaving nearby neighbours worried.
“The whole thing was on fire, it was just a big orange ball,” says Terry Ananny, who lives right next door to where the fire occurred.
Ananny could smell smoke in the middle of the night but thought it was a fire pit.
“It was really faint, it didn't alarm me and that was a mistake.”
It wasn't until someone pounded on her door that she realized the house right beside hers was engulfed in flames.
“It was thanks to this lovely neighbour who lives on Thessaly Circle who probably saved our lives,” she says.
Hours later, firefighters were still inside the house, trying to put out hotspots.
“It's still under investigation,” says Acting District Fire Chief Captain Ken Sine, “damage is quite extensive.”
Fire broke out around 4:30 this morning. It was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, making it impossible to do a search inside for any occupants.
The owners bought the house about 5 years ago, fixed it up and recently had been renting it out as an Airbnb. Fortunately no one had been renting it at the time of the fire.
Owner Rodney Basquin says he raced over to the home when he heard his house was on fire.
“My wife was shaking and I was shaking,” says Basquin when police called his home in the middle of the night, “and we flipped out of bed, got my kids ready and said, “We’ve got to go see what's going on.”
Now the Ottawa Police Arson unit is on site trying to determine how the fire started.
“At this point, we have no determination whether or not the fire was suspicious,” says Sergeant David Christie with the Ottawa Police Arson Unit, “We are about to commence an origin of cause investigation and see what we can find inside the premises.”
Investigators have their work cut out for them; the damage inside is extensive and the conditions difficult.
The fire has left a lasting impression on neighbours in this quiet, mature community.
Firefighters have also left a lasting impression on 8-year-old Juan Pablo who woke to the chaos just across the street from him. And in the midst of it all, he saw a frog on the lawn in the light of the fire.
“He was hopping around and the fireman came with a frog and gave it to me,” says Hewett.
With the frog safely out of harm’s way, firefighters continued to secure the area around the fire and continued their defensive attack on the flames.